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‘Govt can’t be held liable: Centre to SC on adverse effects of Covid vaccine

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Centre, in an affidavit to SC, said that govt cannot be held responsible in case of any adverse effects of Covid vaccination. It said that till Nov 2022, only 0.00013% vaccines resulted in serious AEFI including death.

New Delhi, Nov 29: Centre, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, said that the government cannot be held responsible for the adverse effects of Covid vaccination and informed that the only remedy is to seek compensation, if one dies by inoculating vaccine, by filing a suit in a civil court.

The ministry of health and family welfare said last week, "Holding the state liable to provide compensation under the narrow scope of strict liability for extremely rare deaths occurring due to AEFIs from use of vaccines may not be legally sustainable," according to reports.

‘Govt can’t be held liable: Centre to SC on adverse effects of Covid vaccine

The Centre's response came after a petition was filed by parents of two young women who died after being administered the Covid vaccination last year.

The petition demanded an independent investigation into the deaths. It also demanded an expert medical board to prepare a protocol for early detection and timely treatment of adverse effects following immunization (AEFI).

The Centre offered condolences over the two deaths and said that only in one case, the investigation by the National AEFI Committee found the cause of death to be vaccine-related AEFI.

The health ministry also denied compensation and said, "If a person suffers physical injury or death from AEFI, appropriate remedies in law are open to vaccine beneficiaries per their families including approaching the civil courts for a claim of damages/compensation."

Advocate Colin Gonsalves argued the petition and underlined that these deaths would not have resulted had there been informed consent of its after-effects.

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The Centre in response said that the concept of informed consent is inapplicable to the voluntary use of drugs such as vaccine.

The health ministry also reiterated that out of 219.86 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the country till November 19, 2022, there are 92,114 AEFIs reported, it said in the affidavit.

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"Of this, 89,332 (0.0041%) were minor AEFIs while only 2,782 (0.00013%) resulted in serious or severe AEFI including death," it said.

The Centre added a caveat saying that the "causation analysis" of all severe/serious AEFI was still pending and hence, it was too early to suggest that the same was directly attributed to the vaccine.

The petitioners:

One of the petitioners, Rachana Gangu's daughter was vaccinated with the first dose of Covishield on May 29 last year and died within a month on June 19.

Another petitioner, Venugopalan Govindan's daughter got her first dose of Covishield on June 18 and expired on July 10 last year.

The ministry in the affidavit said that the first petitioner's daughter developed Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) which is a rare AEFIs related to the administration of Covid-19 vaccines reported globally.

In India, 26 AEFI cases of TTS was reported till September 30 of which only 12 resulted in death. This was less compared to 105 TTS cases reported in Canada and 173 cases in Australia.

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